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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Golf event raises funds for former student

    Although she is gone, Michelle Grace Combs is still present in the activities of the campus business fraternity she once belonged to.

    Combs, who was a retail and consumer sciences sophomore, died last October when the motorcycle she was riding collided with a car.

    She was an active member of Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity on campus, and the organization paid tribute to her Saturday by using the proceeds from a charity golf tournament to help set up the Michelle Combs Foundation for Children.

    Accounting senior Jeff Gillingham, member of Alpha Kappa Psi, said the fraternity got the idea to set up the foundation shortly after Combs’ death.

    Gillingham, an Arizona Daily Wildcat advertising account executive, said $1,400

    We want other children that were in the same boat as her to get a chance to experience the things that made her so happy.

    – Thomas Sinding,
    tournament director

    is needed to start up the foundation and said $700 was raised at the tournament. The fraternity has also raised money for the foundation at other events, such as Spring Fling, and has 90 percent of the $1,400 needed to set it up.

    Gillingham said the fraternity members have been supportive of raising money for the


    “”(Michelle) was an important member of our fraternity and a good friend to a lot of people,”” he said.

    This was the 10th annual Alpha Kappa Psi Charity Golf Tournament, and it was held at the Pines Golf Club at Marana. About 60 golfers and seven sponsors donated money to the tournament. The golf company Ping donated more than $1,000 in merchandise, with some of the items going to the winners of the tournament and others being raffled off, Gillingham said.

    In past years, the fraternity has picked a different local organization each year to receive the money raised at the tournament.

    However, Gillingham said after this year, the fraternity will donate the money raised for the Michelle Combs Foundation for Children because it will need a continual funding source.

    The tournament raised significantly more Saturday than it has in past years, Gillingham said.

    He said the tournament is expensive to run, and in the past the fraternity has had to take money from its general fund to give to charities because the money raised was not enough.

    Gillingham said the success of this year’s tournament can be attributed to the planning from finance junior Thomas Sinding, a member of Alpha Kappa Psi and golf director of the tournament.

    Sinding, who is a Wildcat advertising account executive, said although the exact use of the money in the Michelle Combs Foundation for Children has not yet been determined, the money will be used to benefit children with learning disabilities.

    Combs had learning disabilities and loved the UA because of the SALT Center, he said.

    “”We want other children that were in the same boat as her to get a chance to experience the things that made her so happy,”” Sinding said.

    Four other Alpha Kappa Psi members contacted by the Wildcat over the weekend were not available for comment.

    Jocelyn Combs, Michelle’s mother, will act as president of the foundation once it’s set up, and members of Alpha Kappa Psi will act as vice presidents.

    Jocelyn Combs said she was touched and excited that the fraternity started a foundation to help children with learning disabilities realize their dreams of a university education.

    “”Using a sporting event like a golf tournament to raise money for the foundation is very ‘Michelle’ too,”” she said. “”She loved sports and loved to participate in fundraising for a good cause.””

    Sinding said the golf tournament was a nice way for members to remember Michelle because she loved Alpha Kappa Psi and attended almost every event while she was a member.

    The fraternity has around 80 active members, and many of them were either golfing in the tournament or making sure things ran smoothly, he said.

    Anyone who wants to donate to the Michelle Combs Foundation for Children can send a check to Alpha Kappa Psi with the Michelle Combs Foundation written in the memo line.

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